GTI told you so


I had never driven any GTI before, so I was eager to try out Tiernans MKIV. I drove it for 4 laps at the end of the day. The first and last laps were not timed so I ended up with a 2:20.088 and 2:22.482. I had to work around a little traffic each time, which in the Hooked on Driving B group means passing only in a few designated zones. I don’t begrudge the traffic because passing Corvettes and Caymans is always good sport.

The 2:20.088 was very similar to the 2:19.60 predicted from Optimum Lap. Also, the 0.95G tire grip was spot on as the T2 min speed was 68 mph, and the theoretical speed around a 325′ radius circle is 67.88 mph. While I didn’t make a prediction that 104 mph would be the top speed on the main straight, I probably would have guessed 105.

The handling was pretty good. It’s a little understeery on brakes or throttle, but does rotate off throttle. After the laps I took it to the figure 8 briefly and it wasn’t any fun because it had so much rear grip. Speaking of grip, I liked the tires a lot. Federal Evoluzion ST-1s are inexpensive, grippy, and have great audible feedback. I actually bought a set for the 318ti for that rosy future where I actually get to drive it (it’s still in the shop).


My student had an STI, and I had also never driven one of those before. I didn’t get to drive it aggressively, but from my 3 laps behind the wheel, I thought it was a solid and fast car. We beat up on a lot of sports cars in the A group. I think we were the fastest car in the group. It is a seriously capable vehicle and the student was a quick learner.


The GT was both amazing and a huge disappointment. The morning started out wet and I got to drive it in the figure 8 drill. I put the Federal 595RS-Pros on the front and left the all season Kuhmos on the rear. I’ll make a post about that experience soon. It was so ridiculously fun I couldn’t help giggling while I was driving.

Later I got to drive the track and the lap time was shite: 2:27.99. That was due to a combination of factors. One of those is that the fenders need to be rolled. I kept backing off because the tires were rubbing. But the main problem was the transmission. It stayed in high gear quite a lot, which meant no acceleration. Perhaps shifting into L2 and L3 would have improved the situation. Something to try for next time.


I had an MRI last week and it showed that my back is both better and worse. The herniated disc is no longer a problem but I have spinal stenosis. The nerves going down my leg are getting pinched in my lower back. That’s why I haven’t been able to feel parts of my right foot for 1.5 years. I’m also starting to experience some of the same sensations on my left side. Changing tires, coaching, and driving turned out to be a pretty taxing day. I’m signed up to drive Thunderhill West backwards next week, but after that I’m not sure how much driving I’m going to do in 2020. I’m certainly not signing up for any races until my back is better. With the progressive slide its been on, I may have to get surgery at some point. That is both exciting and terrifying.

3 thoughts on “GTI told you so

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